Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Night Dessert: No BTN PrimeTime Games for Nebraska?

Color me rather surprised that the Big Ten Network did not select any of Nebraska's games for a prime-time telecast, especially the Tennessee-Chattanooga game on Labor Day weekend. I'm going to profess my ignorance of how the Big Ten deals work, but I don't think timeslots are quite as regimented in the Big Ten as they were in the Big XII. Chattanooga is almost assuredly a BTN game, probably an 11 am kickoff.  (I'm hoping that perhaps the powers that be might push this one back to mid-afternoon, but I'm doubtful.)  That's the game I figured would end up on BTN primetime to welcome Nebraska, but no dice.

The September 10th game against Fresno State looks to be an 11 am ESPN/ESPN2 telecast (insert your favorite Pam Ward comment here).  Michigan/Notre Dame is already announced for prime time, and Penn State/Alabama should get the 2:30 ABC spot. The other candidate for any ESPN morning kickoff is Wisconsin/Oregon State.  The Washington game on September 17th is likely a 2:30 pm ABC game, unless ABC chooses to show Iowa/Pitt.

The next three games are prime-time affairs:  Wyoming (6:30 pm on September 24th) is on Versus, while ESPN or ABC will televise the Wisconsin (October 1st) and Ohio State (October 8th) games at 7 pm.  After that, it all remains to be seen where games end up, though I think Nebraska at Penn State on November 12th is probably a 2:30 pm ABC game.

Heck, at this point, we don't even know when (or who) is going to televise the Nebraska/Iowa game on the day after Thanksgiving.  My guess is it'll be a mid-afternoon ESPN broadcast; ABC has already committed to a 2:30 pm Boston College/Miami game.

Speaking of Thanksgiving weekend, I see one of the never-admit-defeat UNO football boosters suggested that UNO could have played Northern Iowa that same weekend, and draw 15,000 or 20,000 to TD Ameritrade Park. It was an interesting idea initially, as it would be a weekend where UNO could escape the shadow of the Huskers...except for one little problem.  The division 1-AA playoffs start that weekend, so Northern Iowa wouldn't be interested in that game in all likelihood.  I have to admit that the "Save UNO Football and Wrestling" Facebook is rather humorous; at times, it's just about as ridiculous as yesterday's Rapture non-event.

Husker baseball ended the 2011 season on a semi-high note by sweeping a doubleheader from Missouri yesterday. Now the waiting begins, and I think Tom Osborne is going to need to do something.  Mike Anderson has only one year left on his contract, so letting him finish it out is unlikely at best. Very few players will commit to play for an obvious lame-duck coach, so Osborne needs to either extend Anderson's contract or replace him with somebody else.

If I had to make a gut call, I think Osborne will choose to go another direction.  Missing the Big XII tournament three seasons in a row is something that's difficult to explain away. I don't know who would replace Anderson, though I seriously doubt it would be  Virginia's Brian O'Connor. Only if the draw of being closer to family were a huge factor would O'Connor be interested in jumping to a Big Ten school. Let's put the two conferences in perspective:  Jack Dahm resigned at Creighton as boosters were becoming unhappy, and went to Iowa. That speaks volumes to me about the relative strength of Big Ten baseball.

UPDATE: Almost immediately after submitting this blog entry, my Twitter feed exploded. The Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star now are reporting that the players were assembled at 1 pm to inform them that the coaching staff had been terminated. Not a surprise in my mind. I knew Tom Osborne wouldn't act during the season, so all the kvetching and bemoaning about the situation wasn't going to change things.

Now the question, who will be the next head coach?

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